Raleigh asks first responders to be patient in wait for pay raise

(CBS North Carolina)
(CBS North Carolina)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The City of Raleigh is asking first responders and other employees asking for pay raises to be patient as a pay study nears completion.

Police and firefighters have been fighting for pay raises for months but Council says they want to wait for the results of that pay study before making any decisions.

For months, Raleigh firefighters have been protesting what they’re calling lack of pay. They’ve been asking the city for more money.

“Something has got to change, we’re losing people at a record pace and this can’t continue,” said Raleigh firefighter Chris Ferrell.

Earlier this year, Council denied their request of a 7-percent increase and instead gave all city employees merit based pay raises of up to 3.5 percent.

Council denied their request saying they’re waiting on the completion of a comprehensive pay study.

Tuesday, councilors received an update on that pay study which began in August 2015 and costs tax-payers $500,000.

City Manager Ruffin Hall said they’ve identified 36 “peer cities” to compare salaries as part of the study.

“To the employees, and as I’ve gone out and spoken to groups, I’ve certainly asked for patience and support as we’ve gone through this particular process,” Hall said.

But some first responder groups have criticized the city after a CBS North Carolina investigation revealed some city leaders received pay raises without a pay study.

RELATED: Raleigh police, firefighters upset over lack of pay as city leaders get big raises

Most recently, councilors voted to give Hall an $8,000 pay raise.

But a city spokesperson said it’s in line with the 3.5-percent increase every employee received this year.

Police officers have also joined the fight with firefighters for more money and they’re optimistic the pay study will confirm their own research that other agencies are paying a lot more than they are.

“Many officers have left for other departments in Holly Springs, Wake Forest, Garner, small departments but pay much higher and that’s a concern for us, for the Raleigh police officers and it should be a concern for the City of Raleigh,” said Rick Armstrong with Teamsters Local 391.

The pay study is expected to be complete in February.

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